Watch What Happens When I Sing to a Shelter Dog!

As a pet rescue advocate, I’ve encountered countless dogs with stories that would break your heart, but also inspire you. Today, I’m going to introduce you to two special dogs: Waffles and Butters. Each of them has faced their own unique challenges, but both have shown incredible resilience.

Meeting Waffles: A Story of Fear and Trust

When I first met Waffles, I was a bit apprehensive. This dog was really shut down, growling, and giving all the warning signs. I knew I had to approach with caution, but I also knew that beneath that fear was a dog longing for love and safety.

“Hi, can I come in? Is this okay?” I asked gently. There was a treat in her kennel that she hadn’t touched—a clear sign of her anxiety. With no information about her history, I had to rely on my instincts and experience. I could sense her nervousness and decided to sit down, giving her space while staying cautious.

“Sometimes just being in the presence of a scared dog can help,” I thought. And so, I waited, observing her every move, listening for any growls, and making sure I didn’t turn my back on her.

Sully Port: A Critical Gateway

So, Waffles had just landed in this place called the Sully Port. It’s basically a holding area for new arrivals at the shelter. Think of it as a transitional space where dogs can get used to their new surroundings before moving into the main shelter. Dogs in Sully Port are usually pretty stressed out because they’re coming from tough situations or places where they didn’t feel safe. For Waffles, being in Sully Port was a crucial part of her journey. It was all about monitoring her closely, giving her some space to decompress, and starting to build that trust. This is a key time to make sure she’s healthy and ready to move forward on the path to finding her forever home.

Understanding the Context

Waffles hadn’t eaten, which was concerning. Dogs in such a state often refuse food, and it made me worried about her overall well-being. Her neighbor’s barking wasn’t helping either. But even in this tense situation, small victories began to appear. Waffles started inching closer, a tiny step that felt monumental.

A few moments later, Alexis, a fellow rescuer, arrived with some information. Waffles had been found alone in a vacant home, likely a victim of a difficult situation such as foreclosure or abandonment. This context helped explain her fear and distrust.

Building Trust: The Power of Food and Patience

When it comes to building trust with a fearful dog, food can be a powerful tool. Waffles hadn’t eaten any of the treats left in her kennel, which was a clear indication of her high stress level. I knew I had to try something more enticing.

I decided to use some really smelly wet cat food. It might seem odd, but the strong aroma can sometimes break through a dog’s anxiety. “Hey, I just want you to know that you are brave,” I whispered to her. “You’re okay now, and you’re in a good spot.”

I placed the cat food in front of her, speaking softly and reassuringly. At first, she was hesitant, but then I saw a glimmer of curiosity in her eyes. Slowly, she began to sniff the air, drawn by the pungent scent. It was a small but significant moment when she took her first nibble.

Seeing her eat was a huge relief. It meant that Waffles was starting to use her senses and focus on something other than her fear. This small victory was a pivotal step in her journey towards trust and recovery. “You’re a good girl,” I told her again, watching as she tentatively enjoyed the food. This act of eating, though simple, was a breakthrough moment, showing that she was beginning to feel a bit safer and more comfortable.

In these delicate situations, patience and persistence are key. Even something as basic as a dog accepting a treat can be a monumental step forward. For Waffles, this was the beginning of a transformation, a sign that she was ready to start trusting again.

Discovering Waffles’ Past

Understanding a dog’s past can be crucial in helping them move forward. With Waffles, her fearful behavior made it clear that she had been through a lot. But without any immediate information, we were left to piece together her story based on the little clues we had.

Alexis, a fellow rescuer, came back with some details after digging through the shelter’s records. Waffles had been found alone in a vacant home. The circumstances surrounding her discovery painted a grim picture. It was likely that she was a casualty of a difficult situation such as a foreclosure or abandonment.

“Animal Control found her in a vacant home just by herself,” Alexis explained. “They’re saying it might be a possible squatter situation, but there was nobody around when they found her.”

The implications of her situation were heartbreaking. Costs are rising, the economy is tough, and many people are facing difficult choices. Sometimes, in the face of eviction or foreclosure, pets are left behind, often unintentionally, as their owners scramble to find new housing. Waffles was likely left in a house that no longer had anyone living in it, surviving on whatever scraps were left behind.

The fear and distrust Waffles displayed started to make sense. Imagine being left alone in an empty house, unsure if anyone would ever come back for you. It’s no wonder she was scared and guarded. “It’s no wonder she’s scared,” I thought. “She doesn’t trust anyone because she was abandoned.”

Learning about her past added a layer of urgency to our efforts. We knew that helping Waffles overcome her fear wasn’t just about making her more adoptable; it was about healing the emotional wounds inflicted by her abandonment. Every small step forward, like her accepting the cat food, was a step away from her traumatic past and towards a hopeful future.

Singing to Soothe: The Power of a Song

Sometimes, the most unconventional methods can make a big difference in pet rescue. As I sat with Waffles, trying to ease her anxiety, I decided to sing “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow” from the musical Annie. It’s a simple, hopeful tune, and I hoped it might provide some comfort. “The sun will come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there’ll be sun,” I sang softly. At first, Waffles seemed indifferent, her body still tense and her eyes wary. But as I continued, I noticed her ears perk up just a bit, and she glanced at me with a hint of curiosity.

Music has a way of reaching places words alone can’t, and I could see it starting to work its magic on her. As I sang, “Just thinking about tomorrow clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow,” Waffles began to inch closer. Her movements were slow and deliberate, as if the song was a bridge helping her cross the chasm of fear and distrust. The soft tones and soothing melody created a calming environment, contrasting with the harsh realities she had faced and the chaotic sounds of the shelter. Between verses, I whispered, “You’re a good girl, Waffles. You’re safe now, and everything is going to be okay.”

By the time I reached the final lines, “Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow, you’re only a day away,” Waffles had visibly relaxed. She moved closer and rested her head on my lap. The connection was fragile but real, showing that even the simplest gestures—a song, a kind word, a gentle touch—can have a profound impact. Singing to Waffles wasn’t just about the music; it was about creating a moment of peace and trust. In that quiet moment, with the soft echoes of the song lingering in the air, I felt a sense of hope. Waffles had taken a small but significant step towards trust, reminding me why we do what we do. Every dog has a story, and every story deserves a happy ending. For Waffles, this was just the beginning.

Transition to Health Check

Getting Waffles ready for a health check was the next step. I carefully put a lead around her, making sure she felt secure but not pressured. We walked her into the health check area, where the team scanned her for a microchip and assessed her overall health. To our surprise, she had been through the shelter system before, about three years ago.

Introducing Butters: A Golden Opportunity

Next, I want to introduce you to Butters, a beautiful golden retriever who also needed help. When I first met her, she was covered in mats and burrs, evidence of neglect despite her well-fed appearance.

“Hi, can I tell you something? You are a good girl,” I said to her. Positive affirmations are crucial in building trust with scared animals. Butters responded well to the gentle approach, climbing into my lap and showing her true golden retriever nature.

Finding the Right Home

Butters was found in a wine country area, possibly a farm dog who had wandered off or been abandoned. Without a microchip, it was hard to trace her owners. But, she showed all the signs of being someone’s beloved pet once upon a time.

We named her Butters, inspired by her buttery soft fur and sweet demeanor. With some grooming and lots of love, Butters transformed from a scared, neglected dog into a loving companion ready for adoption.

The Bigger Picture

These stories of Waffles and Butters highlight the importance of patience, understanding, and innovative approaches in pet rescue. Each dog has its own history and challenges, but with time and compassion, we can help them find their way to loving homes.

Every dog deserves a chance, and every small victory—like Waffles eating her first treat or Butters climbing into my lap—is a step toward a brighter future. If you’re moved by their stories, consider adopting, fostering, or supporting your local shelter. Together, we can make a difference, one dog at a time.

Stay tuned for more rescue stories and remember, every dog has a story worth telling. Thanks for joining me on this journey.

Sitting With Dogs Merch

Black Hoodie


White Hoodie